surprise FCC statement on Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This past week I received my Technician-class amateur radio licenense from the FCC. I wanted to become a HAM operator as part of my role as one our local Community Emergency Response Coordinators. When I opened the envelope for the FCC not only did it contain my license, but it also came with a pink information sheet entitled "STATEMENT ON Y2K." An excerpt...

"The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission would like to warn its applicants and licensees of wireless services that the (Y2K - my insert) problem is real and pervasive. Some early, cursory examinations appear to have underestimated the seriousness and extent of the problem. Estimates of fixes world-wide, including systems replacements and upgraded software, run into the hundreds of millions of dollars and beyond."

It was surprising and refreshing to see this pro-active effort to inform the amateur radio community about Y2K. I was also pleased to find a realistic assessment of the problem coming from a government agency. See the FCC website at for more information.

I wonder if this is an indication that the magnitude of the Y2K problem is finally sinking in within certain sectors of the federal government? Are they becoming GI's or it this a purely CYA measure?

-- Brian E. Smith (, January 15, 1999


Brian, CERTs rely on HAMs for vital communications during disasters.
Congratulations on your license! You will become an indispensable lifesaver in your community with your skills/equipment/training. FEMA is planning CERT activation for Y2K. Look for the threads here re: FEMA, National Guard, Navy, Police, etc.

Brian, are you on the West Coast?

The Feds aren't GI's quite yet but their planning may be very serious and it's not only CYA. They aren't well organized yet and are currently embroiled in ferocious turf skirmishes re Y2K/responsibilities. Don't count on them or look to them for signs; you're more with it. It's the local GIs who will save their communities.

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia, NET & CERT-ified, but not HAMs ;-)

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Leska (, January 15, 1999.

Brian good choice! You may well save lives.

And thanks for the enclosed "note." (So noted)


-- Diane J. Squire (, January 15, 1999.

I have a shortwave receiver, but wouldn't know "USB" from "squelch". What band/frequencies would be best to monitor in an emergency?

-- Anonymous99 (, January 15, 1999.

Congratulations on your new license, you will be an asset to your community. One thought: outfit yourself NOW with whatever you will need to keep your station operative. It has been my experience that, although amateur operators often supply a critical link in disaster response, they are usually last on the list for things like gasoline for their generators, food, etc. when in the field. The folks with the red lights and sirens get first pick, even when sitting around with nothing to do. Sad but true...

73, de Why2K


-- Why2K? (, January 15, 1999.

Brian, thanks for your response. Become a regular visitor/poster on this Forum and keep us updated!

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Leska (, January 15, 1999.

Brian I am interested in getting involved in HAM radio, but know nothing about it. Any chance you could give me information regarding this? Let me know if it is okay to e-mail you. Mr. Mary

-- Mary Howe (, January 15, 1999.

I just found my callsign in the FCC database (Technician too, go figure!) so I can transmit although my license will be a few days more to get. (Gotta love it when they allow you to Tx as soon as you have your callsign.)

Anyon ewantin gto get their Amateur ticket should hit this website:

Ham Exam

They hav ethe entire question pools and practice exams for all five license grades (assuming Tech and Tech Plus as one since the only difference is the code requirement for Plus.) I spent two days thumbing through a printed copy of the Novice and Tech Q-pools and got my CSCE for the tests in half an hour. The newly issued callsign hit the FCC database 4 business days later.

As for traffic, the hottest local traffic is usually in the 2-meter and 70-centimeter bands, as there are lots of local repeaters in most locales on those bands.

OddOne, who's got his ticket and advises anyone with $6.49 and any possiblity of passing the 65 Qs they throw at you to get their Tech ticket a.s.a.p...

-- OddOne (, January 15, 1999.

also consider finding a local ham club, with the assistance of ARRL if necessary, or by using QST magazine. then join all of the emergency groups they have. ARES, RACES, etc. if you're ex-military, consider joining MARS.

-- jocelyne slough (, January 18, 1999.

First, congratulations to all new hams. Well done!


"USB" is an abbreviation for "Upper SideBand," which is one of the modes used by hams. It's opposite is "LSB," which means "Lower SideBand." Your receiver may have a switch marked, "mode." If not, the mode switch, if there is one, may have another label to it. In any case, it should be a switch, not a control like the squelch or volume controls.

On the HF bands (High Frequency), much emergency traffic (ARES/RACES) is conducted on the 75/80 meter band (3.5 MHz), and is usually in LSB mode. In Oregon, and much of the PNW, the emergency (ARES) traffic is on 3993.5 MHz, LSB. They also hold daily nets, to see who's on frequency, and what propagation conditions are. I believe they start about 1800 Pacific Time (0200 UT), Monday thru Friday.

The suggestion to look in a copy of QST magazine is a good one. The information in the front of each issue can help you find out who to contact in your local area to find out about ARES/RACES activities.

Good luck, and happy hamming.

73 de KC7LVZ


-- seasoned (, January 18, 1999.

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